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By The Wall Street Journal
JANUARY 22, 2009
The latest twist in the clash between Western values and the Muslim world took place yesterday in the Netherlands, where a court ordered the prosecution of lawmaker and provocateur Geert Wilders for inciting violence. The Dutch MP and leader of the Freedom Party, which opposes Muslim immigration into Holland, will stand trial soon for his harsh criticism of Islam.
Mr. Wilders, who made world news last year with the release of a short anti-Islam film called certainly intends to provoke. In his 15-minute video, he juxtaposes verses from the Koran that call for jihad with clips of Islamic hate preachers and terror attacks. He has compared the Koran to Hitler's "Mein Kampf" and urged Muslims to tear out "hate-filled" verses from their scripture.
This is a frontal assault on Islam -- but, as Mr. Wilders points out, he's targeting the religion, not its followers. "Fitna," in fact, sparked a refreshing debate between moderate Muslims and non-Muslims in the Netherlands, and beyond.
There are of course limits to free speech, such as calls for violence. But one doesn't need to agree with Mr. Wilders to acknowledge that he hasn't crossed that line. Some Muslims say they are outraged by his statements. But if freedom of speech means anything, it means the freedom of controversial speech. Consensus views need no protection.
This is exactly what Dutch prosecutors said in June when they rejected the complaints against Mr. Wilders. "That comments are hurtful and offensive for a large number of Muslims does not mean that they are punishable," the prosecutors said in a statement. "Freedom of expression fulfills an essential role in public debate in a democratic society. That means that offensive comments can be made in a political debate."
The court yesterday overruled this decision, arguing that the lawmaker should be prosecuted for "inciting hatred and discrimination" and also "for insulting Muslim worshippers because of comparisons between Islam and Nazism."
The concept of punishing people for "insulting" religious feelings sounds dangerously close to what Islamic countries have long been pushing for: that Western nations adopt blasphemy laws and stop the "defamation" of Islam.
The Amsterdam court yesterday obliged. This is no small victory for Islamic regimes that seek to export their censorship laws to wherever Muslims happen to reside. But the successful integration of Muslims in the Netherlands and the rest of Europe will require that immigrants adapt to Western norms, not vice versa. Limiting the Dutch debate of Islam to standards acceptable in, say, Saudi Arabia, will only shore up support for Mr. Wilders's argument that Muslim immigration is eroding traditional Dutch liberties.
Islamists have long tried to silence Mr. Wilders, who has been living for years under 24-hour police protection. Dutch judges may finally succeed where jihadist death threats so far have failed.
By Gateway Pundit
Dec. 15, 2008
BLOOMINGTON, Minn. - On the day Muslims around the world began to celebrate Eid al-Adha, Fatuma Mohamed was at the Mall of America (MOA), far away from where she would normally say her prayers.
But she and other Muslims needed to take time from the activities of the mall and find a quiet area to pray as Muslims do during the festival that commemorates Ibrahim's willingness to sacrifice his only son for God.
"I said my prayer right at that corner," Mohamed said, pointing to the spot.
Another Muslim, Amran Ali, did the same.
"I had to say my prayer at a corner," Ali said. "I was stared at, but no one bothered me."
Every year, as Muslims in America are compelled to engage in business, work and shopping during the holidays, many find themselves away from mosques and other places where they can hold prayers without interruption. They are forced to seek privacy in corners and alleyways, places that often subject them to unwanted attention. Some Muslims also worry that their repetitive calls of "Allah akbar!" (God is great!) during prayers could be misconstrued as calls for Jihad.
"Of course, out of curiosity people will stare at you but don't say anything," said Shuuriye Ali. "I wish they would ask. I would love to educate them about my peaceful religion."
This year Muslim leaders from the Twin Cities area were able to persuade MOA, the largest enclosed mall in the United States, to set aside a room for prayers.
By M. Zuhdi Jasser
August 8, 2008
While we in the West sleep, the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, is whispering in Arabic to hundreds of millions of Muslims how to establish Islamic states. In July he wrote two extensive columns (on July 13th and July 22nd) on the subject of the Islamic state in Arabic. Some Islamist apologists who remain ignorant of the threat of the Islamic state argue that the ascendancy of political Islam in the Muslim world is the better of "other evils" that could arise. Many Muslims and non-Muslims alike across the world, however, believe that it is self-evident that the ascendancy of political Islam will remain a significant security threat to the United States and to the West for decades to come as it has been so obviously so for anti-Islamist Muslims and non-Muslims alike in the Middle East.
This security threat is manifold. The attempt to create "Islamic" states which derive their laws from the theological interpretations of Islam and Sharia by clerics will always give rise to variant forms of internal and transnational movements which are supremacist in their worldview and thus justify various forms of terrorism against non-Muslims. Many in the state department believe that somehow Muslims are sentenced to live under the Islamist rule and rather governments which are pluralistic and are blind to a single religion are not possible under Muslims majority governments. Many of us would beg to differ. While this may be the line which the Muslim Brotherhood would like us to accept without debate, the reality is that a plurality if not a majority of Muslims refuse to subscribe to the religio-political collectivism of the Muslim Brotherhood and the now archaic concept of the Islamic state.
Up to this point, we have done very little in the public space to expose and engage the real ideological motives of the Muslim Brotherhood. The discourse over political Islam continues to grow but without reviewing source material and their discourse in Arabic we will make little headway. Some have been doing this but real time debate among Muslims is sparse to nonexistent over the subject of political Islam.
The English discourse over issues related to political Islam by the MB is hypocritically filtered for the Western audience. One need just review the MB's English website and compare it to their Arabic website. They are not simple translations of one another. Same organization, same ultimate mission, very different messaging for very different fronts in the same conflict. A real debate over political Islam will only occur when we engage the ideas they present to their Arabic audience, as well. The English version of their message plays a mere peripheral cosmetic role based out of London. The Arabic version stems from deep within their soul and reflects their home base of operations. The major difference between them reflects their dissimulation and hypocrisy. Thus, true anti-Islamist activity must center on their deeply engrained ideologies which are expressed in Arabic.
This requires a "Counter-Project" to refute and confront "the ongoing Project of the Muslim Brotherhood" and it will certainly take some time in its development. MB and current day political Islam took over a century to develop. I pray our response can be developed much more quickly. Just as the MB early on devised a plan as outlined in their project and effectuated at numerous meetings such as the 1993 Philadelphia meeting, so too should anti-Islamist Muslims begin to meet in the West and in Arabic countries and devise mechanisms of exposing and countering the ideologies of Islamist movements most notable of which is the MB. This is our mission at the American Islamic Forum for Democracy.
While the origins of the MB derive from the writings of Sayyid Qutb and Hassan al-Banna, today's spiritual leader of the MB remains Yusef Al-Qaradawi. He is the master of Islamist doublespeak. Yet, anyone with an iota of energy to search a few of his political commentaries will find a plethora of radical commentaries and outright militancy when speaking to Muslim and Arabic audiences. He has endorsed terrorist acts, suicide bombings against Israelis in Israel and against Americans in Iraq to name a few. He has stated in April 2001 on suicide operations that "these are not suicide operations but are heroic martyrdom operations." He has endorsed spousal abuse, death for apostates, a forward Jihad, and the reestablishment of the Islamic Caliphate as summarized by the Investigative Project.
In English he contributes to the Qatar-based IslamOnline providing fatwas (religious opinions) read by millions of Muslims like this one permitting women to perform suicide operations in Israel. He appears regularly on AlJazeera, also out of Qatar which is viewed by over 80 million daily spewing the same vacillation between militancy and his hypocritical "Middle Way" (Wasatiya) making himself appear moderate when he is in fact a radical.
Al-Qaradawi's site in Arabic lately seems to be trying to lay the groundwork for the latest iteration and foundations of political Islam. On July 22, 2008 he published a lead Arabic article explaining at length how the "Islamic State is in line with the essence of democracy." And before that he also published a major piece at his website on July 13, 2008 stating that, "the Islamic state is a civil state which derives its authority from Islam." (translation provided by AIFD)
Let's look at these columns and begin to dissect some possible Muslim responses to his Islamist worldview. Both of his columns seem to be laying out the strategy of how to counter the secularist argument being made for freedom by some Muslims. He feigns advancement in his writing claiming to be building upon his own MB ideological forefathers in Abul Ala Maududi, the founder of Jamaat Al-Islamayia in Pakistan, and his own mentor Sayyid Qutb from Egypt. Make no mistake: while some MB leadership try to marginalize Qaradawi's influence, he is the present day "Godfather" of MB philosophy. To quote from an MB site posting of an IslamOnline article from just a few weeks ago on July 18, 2008:
Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi is a pure product of the Muslim Brotherhood Movement. His only activist and ideological affiliation is to the Muslim Brotherhood and he has never frankly opposed it. Al Qaradawi has been defined by the Muslim Brotherhood Movement perhaps as much it is defined by him. They have been related in all stages of his life.
And earlier in 2006 he stated, "the MB asked me to be a chairman, but I preferred to be a spiritual guide for the entire nation"
In Qaradawi's description of the Islamic state in his July 13, 2008 column on his website, he in detail describes how leaders in the Islamic state are selected "by influential people." He tries to imply that they are democratically elected but it is clearly an oligarchy. He uses examples of the first Caliph in Islamic history and discusses concepts of "shura" as being equivalent to democracy. This is quite insulting to any Muslim living in a real democracy in the United States. Yet, he implies that shura is a consultation just among the scholars or "ulemaa" alone and makes no mention whatsoever of how such a system preserves the equality of every citizen. Again his concept of democracy is clearly an oligarchy. His concept of the rule of law is Islamocentric derived from Sharia with no mention of a secular humanist approach as other real reformers such as Mohammed Al-Ashmawy have bravely discussed. Al-Qaradawi rather describes it as government's role to 'propagate morality and prevent immorality." Thus the ruling class will impose religious interpretations upon the general population. This is done through his interpretation of "Sharia" (Islamic jurisprudence) or that of a few clerics, one would presume. He clearly states that the 'ruler' is 'governed by sharia' whose provisions cannot be "canceled" by man, since they come from God. He then uses this verse from Chapter 33 in the Koran to justify the Islamic state:
Now whenever God and His Apostle have decided a matter, it is not for a believing man or a believing woman to claim freedom of choice insofar as they themselves are concerned: for he who [thus] rebels against God and His Apostle has already, most obviously, gone astray. Koran 33:36
Qaradawi uses this verse to explain the Islamist concept of the rule of law in an Islamic state and the need for Muslims to submit to the rule of the scholars. Many Muslims would vehemently disagree with such an interpretation of our scripture and that verse. I believe the verse Qaradawi draws upon actually refers to an individual in their personal relationship with God. Nowhere does that verse refer to government or our affairs on earth. It is purely a personal discussion between God and the Muslim reader of the Koran. Conveniently, Qaradawi ignores the previous verse which stated,
And bear in mind all that is recited in your homes of God's messages and [His] wisdom: for God is unfathomable [in His wisdom], all-aware. Koran 33:34.
Among many salient points, the most significant is the fact that this refers to recitation at home in a personal relationship of a Muslim with God. Again, not about government. It is a classic technique of Salafists to inappropriately pull out passages which they believe empowers them while ignoring the much more limiting larger contexts which have nothing to do with government and are isolated toward the individual, the family, or a specific incident in Islamic history.
Herein lies the central failure of the Islamic state. Their authority is autocratically imposed by the narcissistic belief of the so-called scholars that supposedly know the rulings of God and are the self-appointed instrument of God's ruling on earth. Qaradawi also later in the piece makes the paradoxical but true claim that in Islam there are no clergy or intermediaries between an individual and God. But yet, he insists upon a legal governmental framework which is "Islamic." To imply that all citizens of an Islamic state are free from the autocratic tendencies of a system which empowers "Sharia experts" to guide government is nonsensical. Clearly Qaradawi is confused, schizophrenic, or dissimulating - you make the call.
If Qaradawi were intellectually honest rather than deceptively promote his interpretations of the Islamic state, he would explain what he perceives as the drawbacks of Jeffersonian democracy for Muslims and non-Muslims alike. He would have addressed why secular liberal democracies like the United States are inferior to his utopian Islamic state. As an American and as a Muslim I believe that the most ideal system of government for humanity is that based on the American Jeffersonian model where our Constitution is founded "under God," our government preserves the inalienable rights of its citizens guaranteed by our Creator, and our representatives argue law blind to the dogma of any one religion focusing on a humanistic natural discourse based in reason.
Qaradawi also, in his column, dismisses the European history of failed Christian theocracy as being vastly different than the Islamic state. But in perfect doublespeak never removes the "imams" or "scholars" from their position of interpreting God's laws for government and he never removes the injunction of running government by the legal tradition of only one faith versus that of all humanity. Clearly Qaradawi realizes his epistemological dilemma in ignoring the far more appealing and successful Western secular government than the Islamic state to humanity. As long as liberty-minded Muslims are unable to have an effective voice promoting liberty-based political ideologies, the ascendancy of the Islamic state as advocated by the likes of Qaradawi will continue unabated.
Qaradawi is relying on the assumption that no one is going to call him out on the fact that his explanations are fraught with errors and a Salafist mentality stuck in the 7th century versus a modernist one looking into the 21st century. He claims free will for everyone and religious freedom but yet continues to advocate for the Islamic state as if its existence is an a priori assumption which cannot be disputed. Not only should it be disputed - its existence in concept is the greatest barrier to religious freedom for Muslims and non-Muslims alike. It is this usurpation of the domain of God by government for their own corrupting power on earth which is typical of the MB and demagogues like Qaradawi. Government should be established upon a reasoned debate between all citizens, not just Muslims, not just clerics (or scholars), and not just based upon any theology (i.e. Islam) but rather founded in reason. For those Islamists who attempt to argue that the evolution of Sharia can be based in reason, they have yet to answer why that doesn't then make their language and focus upon Sharia entirely irrelevant and archaic in the public sphere if it is to respect people of all faiths or no faith.
Real reform and counterterrorism will only happen when the entire existence of the Islamic state can be questioned and the a priori assumption of clerics like Qaradawi dismissed. Columns like this one in Arabic by Al-Qaradawi can be countered in their essence through the complete intellectual de-legitimization of the Islamic state. I believe the concept of the Islamic state can be countered logically from a position of religious freedom, against oligarchy, and for "enlightenment." When positioned against Western liberal democracies founded in religious freedom, the Islamic state will never be able to live up to the same human potential for equally preserving the human integrity of every citizen and the personal nature of one's relationship with God.
And unless these so-called scholars have some sort of direct communication with God, their interpretations of Sharia (Islamic jurisprudence) are just human and their laws are just theocracy no matter which way Qaradawi and his MB try to conceal it and peddle it as democracy. They may enjoy calling Sharia "God's law," but in reality it is a human interpretation of God's laws. Thus it is no different in its power than secular laws based in reason. By clerics like Qaradawi, using Sharia and their interpretation of God's will as a means to control a society, they are in fact abrogating the free will of individuals in exchange for their self-empowering clerical oligarchy.
Al-Qaradawi then takes particular effort to claim that clerics are not involved in the Islamic state since Islam has no clergy and makes the following absurd statement that "Establishing the Islamic state as the government ideology does not mean that it is a religious state." He then ends with three observations in which he tries to repackage the Islamist ideologies of Maududi and Qutb as being non-theocratic. One should not only look at what he states but also what he does not say. Throughout his piece, Qaradawi continues to rest upon the need for societal law to be driven by Sharia and the Islamic state. He never answers the question of the assumed need for the Islamic state and the oligarchy it empowers by its sheer existence. He makes no convincing case for how Sharia can be implemented by non-clerics and also accommodate equal access to government by non-Muslims who are not schooled in Sharia. His entire diatribe seems to be predicated on a "Muslim-only" government founded in a common supremacist mentality of Islamists.
This is where our public diplomacy dollars need to be spent. How many of our State Department employees are following Qaradawi's Arabic writings and its influence upon impressionable Muslims? How many anti-Islamist Muslims are we helping such that they can empower other Muslims to take on al-Qaradawi and offer an alternative to his Islamist deceptions? Slim to none.
Ayatollah Khomeini stimulated an Islamist revolution by shipping in tapes from France of his diatribes before 1979 while he was exiled in Paris. When will anti-Islamist Muslim think tanks in America begin to similarly ship in thousands upon thousands of tapes, YouTube clips, CDs, DVDs, columns, pamphlets, books, audio files and other mediums containing the ideas of liberty founded in an adherence to a personal, non-governmental Islam?
The only effective counter to the artfully deceptive description of the Islamic state by individual like Al-Qaradawi is a "counter-project" to express the comfort of pious Muslims with governments which are secular and classically liberal and not based upon Sharia but rather upon human reason and true religious pluralism in government.
Part II I will continue the discussion with a review Qaradawi's next Arabic language defense of the Islamic state in his July 22, 2008 article entitled, "Islamic State in line with the essence of democracy".
FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editor M. Zuhdi Jasser is the founder and Chairman of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy based in Phoenix Arizona. He is a former U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander, a physician in private practice, and a community activist. He can be reached at Zuhdi@aifdemocracy.org.
By M. Zuhdi Jasser
August 25, 2008
In Part I, we began a discussion on the not-so-subtle attempts recently by Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, the "obvious Godfather" and leading imam of the Muslim Brotherhood, of spreading the central ideology of Islamism - the establishment of the Islamic state. His discussions are not on his English site, nor on the Muslim Brotherhood's English site. His most recent columns on July 13th and July 22nd were only in Arabic. In the last column, I reviewed a few of the most salient points he mentions in his Arabic diatribe concerning the Islamic state in his first column of July 13thentitled, "the Islamic State is a civil state which derives its authority from Islam." This column will review and critique the subsequent piece in Arabic on July 22, 2008 entitled, "the Islamic State is in line with the essence of democracy." Oddly, if that publication wasn't enough, he renamed the piece "the Ultimate Democracy" and republished essentially the same column this week on August 19, 2008 - just with a different title; basically verbatim but shorter. Either he and his staff are growing exceedingly lazy by recycling the same diatribes on the Islamic state, or Qaradawi is using the oldest of brainwashing techniques upon his readers - the incessant repetition of central tenets of ideology. Let's look at the ideas in his recycled piece.
Qaradawi's Islamism - a Grand Deception
Qaradawi opens with a castigation of what he describes as both "economic democracy" or capitalism and 'social democracy or absolute freedom." He states that "they (Islamists) have significant reservations against capitalism because of its 'teeth' and they also have reservations against liberalism (or absolute freedom)". He is a typical demagogic politician who exploits religion and scripture for his own delusions of grandeur. Qaradawi repeatedly grabs entirely irrelevant passages of the Koran in his effort to present his case "for Islamic democracy" and 'against western capitalism and liberalism" in a diatribe more fit for an Islamist sermon than the weak and incoherent political analysis he attempted. But that is the key to Islamism. It is a manipulation of Islam through the pulpit of imams like Qaradawi towards the grand deception that the Islamist interpretations of our scripture gives the clerics mastery over the domain of government and the rule of law.
The Islamists, like Qaradawi, will ignorantly argue that the dismissal of politics from religion is not what is seen in the United States and moral leadership needs to be a requisite part of government. This deceptive equivalency implies that the mixture of religion and politics in America when it occurs is similar to Islamism. It is not. This is dangerously deceptive and outright wrong in its implications. The reality is that Qaradawi and his fellow transnational Islamists seek to implement societal systems of governance which are in reality an antithesis to the Jeffersonian foundations of America. Qaradawi's diatribes make it clear that Islamist governance is not based upon reason and natural law but rather upon the oligarchic Islamist exegesis of scripture and their twisted interpretation of shar'ia law. Qaradawi demonstrates this in the very method he uses to put forth his arguments for the Islamic state. He uses not reason but rather scriptural exegesis to impose his ideas. If his ideas were founded in reason and logic he would have clearly explained the logic of why "Islamic law" or an "Islamic democracy" are preferable to Muslims and those of any faith or no faith to secular liberal democracies. But he makes no such argument. His only method of argumentation is the recurrent, and I would add inappropriate, use of Qur'anic scripture to make his theocratic arguments in Arabic.
Qaradawi, as is typical of Islamists speaking to other Muslims, always sets up a scenario where the refutation of his arguments must be based in a counter scriptural exegesis rather than a rational counter based in logic and reason. Interestingly, this is the same paradigm which pitted the Christian theocrats against the Christian humanists of the 17th and 18th centuries. Anti-Islamist Muslims are often dismissed as "unqualified to argue scripture" and when we demand to discourse in reason we are told that such a discourse is inferior to scriptural exegesis. The reality is that the imams know very well that they will lose their arguments on reason and will therefore never yield to such an egalitarian discourse.
Qaradawi and his ilk would much rather dismiss the vast majority of the Muslim population as 'not scholarly enough in Islamic studies' in order to impose the mandate of the Islamic state given to Islamists by their own self-serving interpretation of God's word. Thanks to the internet and sites like FamilySecurityMatters.org, anti-Islamists can expose his real agenda and the vacuity of his arguments whether he likes it or not.
The Devil is in the Details - Qaradawi promotes socialism and attacks capitalism and liberalism
It is instructive to review some of the specifics of Qaradawi's arguments which he conveniently makes in Arabic. He first states that 'capitalism is unacceptable for us' and then quotes from three different verses in the Koran which he believes support his premise. He implies that "capitalists" are those that refuse to acknowledge that their property belongs to God. All of his citations are intentionally misleading, manipulative, and classically theocratic in their myopia. He conflates moral guidance and caution from God with economic freedoms.
For example, he cites the Koranic accounting of Qarun (Korach). Qaradawi believes the anecdote to be an example of the "arrogance and materialism (of capitalism) which can arise in his estimation from unchecked wealth," ridiculously citing Koran (28:78) as an appropriate reference to that. I am sure many Muslims (especially non-Islamists) would disagree with his application of the Koranic lesson in Chapter 28's accounting of Qarun. Qarun and his people were condemned by God due to their arrogance and rejection of God's instructions and Moses' leadership. The Koranic account mentions his wealth as one source of Qarun's arrogance but his wealth was not the central problem. It was, rather, his arrogance and corruption. Qaradawi is equating that vignette to "capitalism" - which is absurd. This verse in my estimation gives a moral lesson about the vice of arrogance which can give rise to a rejection of God's word which has nothing to do with capitalism. It certainly makes implications about the connection of arrogance to materialism but it is in no way anti-capitalist or anti-freedom. Many Islamists love to imply that capitalism spawns materialism. They brainwash our youth into believing that socialist systems are somehow more Islamic. In fact, socialist violation of property rights and liberty are what is un-Islamic. Qaradawi ignores this. Certainly, the primary check upon empty materialism is humility and faith, but this can be within a capitalist system. The government and its clerics should be the last ones responsible for instilling those ideals as the moral police for government and society.
This is an excellent example of the grand deception of Islamists. In fact many other Islamic scholars have provided commentary on the synergy of capitalism with Muslim principles of economic independence and shared risk in business transactions. The likes of Qaradawi ignore all of that scholarship until it suits their interests for English audiences packaged for the west. Even when they discuss capitalism they do so with a caveat of separation based in their fabricated need for a separate so-called "sharia compliant" financing system. These financing systems while using "Islamic garb" are simply put in place to subjugate and control Muslim populations while separating them out from non-Muslims. Qaradawi's implication (by demonizing capitalism and freedom) is that government and its theocrats (namely him) are much better suited to distribute that wealth and thus confiscate property and usurp freedom. Note the absence of any discussion in this diatribe on the primacy of individual property rights.
He is obviously unable to understand the basis upon which capitalist systems succeed and theocratic systems have uniformly failed. A system which universally stimulates human creativity and independence is far more faith-based in my mind than one which uses government to coerce the Islamist version of morality. We need to translate Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations, or Friedrich Hayek's, The Road to Serfdom, into Arabic and let Qaradawi's audience hear another voice and understand that capitalism has no conflict with enlightened Muslim interpretations and reason.
But we must understand that Qaradawi' and his Muslim Brotherhood (MB) are less about Islam than they are about socialism. Qaradawi is cut out of the Sayyid Al-Qutb mold of political Islam and socialism which was long ago a salafist response to dictatorship. They willfully ignore a number of Koranic mandates to equal property rights for all members of society (i.e. 3:75). The other two passages he cites [Qur'an (11:87) and (57:7)] against capitalism are similarly twisted by Qaradawi deceptively conflating moral guidance in the Qur'an from God to an individual Muslim with Qaradawi's own notion of governmental and societal economic mandates.
The Islamist Attack on Traditional Liberalism
Qaradawi then attacks liberalism and freedom stating,
"The liberalism, meaning absolute freedom, is also unacceptable to us. There is no absolute freedom in the whole existence. Every freedom in the world is bound by some restrictions, such as those which limit the rights of others"… "The allegation of some religious people: that democracy is opposed to the rule of God, because it is the rule of the people, we say to them: What is meant by rule of the people here? It is against the absolute rule of the individual and is against the rule of the dictator, and it doesn't mean that it is against the rule of God. Because our discussion on democracy in the Muslim community is about adhering to the law of God in the shar'ia." (translation by AIFD)
He is positioning Islamism between dictatorship and freedom. He absurdly equates freedom with dictatorship saying it is the 'absolute rule of the individual'. This is exceedingly instructive and exposes how the ideological motivations of the MB and Islamists are actually a false democracy. Their ideas are anti-freedom and represent the promotion of an oligarchy where the ruling class is only checked by their version of elections. The law, in Qaradawi's concept of nation, is based not in humanism and natural law but rather in shar'ia (Islamic jurisprudence centrally rooted in clerical interpretation). Note how Qaradawi admits above that in his version of 'Islamic democracy' they are applying or adhering to the 'law of God.' Again, no mention of minority rights. Democracy, according to Qardawi and the MB is simply some kind of election process and the rule of some majority over any minority. That majority in their mind could only be a majority of clerics, imams, or scholars who rule by shura (consensus of the oligarchy) conveniently with no description of equal access to law and government of all citizens regardless of faith or level of scholarship.
Reason would also argue that shar'ia interpreted and implemented by humans is not in reality the law of God but rather manmade law (unless these clerics are speaking directly to God). Thus, the only practical difference between natural law (based on humanism( versus shar'ia (based on Islamic scripture) is that the former is open to all citizens and the latter only empowers one ruling class of clerics. The clerics exert domain over Islamic jurisprudence and shut out the rank and file Muslim as unqualified while also completely excluding non-Muslims from any hope of leadership or equal participation before the law.
He later deceptively spins the Western ideology of freedom into an extreme category stating:
Those who call for unrestricted democracy believe that Western democracy is the panacea for our countries and our nations and peoples with all their descriptions of social liberalism, economic capitalism, and political freedom. They do not restrict their democracy from anything. They want to install that in our country, as in western countries, a system not based in any ideology, not derived from sharia, nor believing in fixed values, but with a separation between science and ethics, between economics and morality, between politics and morality, and between war and morality. (translated by AIFD)
This is classic Islamist spin which intentionally ignores the inherent and genuine religious freedom in Western democracies. Qaradawi and his ilk are ignorant of how pious classically liberal systems which respect individual freedoms are or can be. Liberal democratic systems are simply blind to one faith and thus the most free of governmental coercion. Islamists paint the West as "anti-God" and "anti-Islam" when in fact there is no society more conducive to a pious faith-based community than the United States.
People of any faith thrive in America. It is the Islamists which can derive no oxygen from our Jeffersonian system. They know this and instead spin Western democracy as "ungrounded" and "chaotic" in order to pave the way for their supremacist Islamist system. The Islamist system is hopelessly doomed to failure since it suffocates the individual freedom (given by God) and necessary for real human creativity.
Qaradawi and the MB understand exactly what is at stake in the war of ideas between the Islamic world and the West. They are working far harder to win that war than are most thought leaders in the West and especially Muslims. In fact the MB's project has already been secretly working for decades to counter the threat they see from liberal democracies.
It is time for liberal democracies to respond and mount a counter-project to the MB and their fellow Islamists.
It is sad how difficult it is to find any published Arabic counterarguments to the dangerous and ignorant ranting of Qaradawi and his colleagues in the MB. The U.S. government recently straight jacketed itself by reducing the lexicon in the war to meaningless terms like extremist or radical when trying to describe the enemy. This discussion should, at the minimum, highlight that if we are to deconstruct the Islamist motivations of radicals we must engage their core statist ideologies.
At stake is the Muslim perception of freedom and what is the true practice of our faith. If we allow Qaradawi's narrative to go unchecked by freedom loving Muslims in his cyber-Jihad, Islamist terror will never disappear and we will eventually lose this war. We ultimately and urgently need hundreds of websites and organizations offering a Muslim anti-Islamist narrative to the rantings of the likes of Yusuf Al-Qaradawi.
FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editor M. Zuhdi Jasser is the founder and Chairman of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy based in Phoenix Arizona. He is a former U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander, a physician in private practice, and a community activist.